Home Children and Young People Didn’t get the GCSE grades you needed? What to do next!

Didn’t get the GCSE grades you needed? What to do next!

by Guy Murphy

If you didn’t get the grades you had hoped for, it can be very difficult and might mean that your plans have to change. However, there are lots of options available and plenty of support to help you get back on track.

In the first instance, you should speak to your school to discuss your options. Remember you won’t be the first or the last pupil to not get the results they had hoped for, and your school will have support in place on the day.

Knowsley’s Advice and Guidance Service work with local schools to ensure Year 11 students know what choices are available to them when leaving school – whether it’s going on to further education, training, re-sitting exams or applying for an Apprenticeship. Advisors can talk through your options.

To find out more about how the team can help, call 0151 443 2898 and you will be allocated a dedicated engagement worker who will help you make the next step.

Alternatively, you can speak to an adviser at the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900 or use webchat. They are available from 8am until 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 5pm on Saturdays and Bank Holidays.

Talk to your preferred sixth form or college

If you had successfully applied to a sixth form or college and narrowly missed out on the required entry grades, contact them and let them know about your results.

In some circumstances they might still be able to offer you a place. Alternatively, they might suggest a different subject or study route.

Retake your exam

Students can enter for autumn exams in all GCSE. These exams will run over October, November and December. Students should speak to their school or college about entering these exams.

Consider an apprenticeship

If you haven’t got the results you needed to go onto further education, an apprenticeship could be an exciting option for you to get into a career.

There are hundreds of apprenticeships courses across a wide range of sectors, from trades such as plumbing and electrician to human resources and marketing.

Apprenticeships combine hands-on training with work experience and academic study. Plus, If you’re aged 16 to 18 or in the first year of your apprenticeship, you’re entitled to the apprentice rate.

For support on deciding whether an apprenticeship is right for you, including real stories, please visit: Become an apprentice (apprenticeships.gov.uk).


If you’re not yet ready to take on an apprenticeship, a traineeship could be a great option for you to develop your skills and gain experience.

Traineeships act as a skills development programme, where you complete an unpaid work placement alongside a training course.

They can last from 6 weeks up to 1 year (although most last up to 6 months) and are designed to help prepare you for work or an apprenticeship.

Traineeships have been proven to bridge the gap between education and employment for many young people.

Further information on traineeships can be found here: Alternatives to apprenticeships.

T Levels

T Levels seek to widen the opportunities available to post-16 year olds by putting technical and academic qualifications on an equal footing.

They offer an alternative to A Levels and other post-16 courses or an apprenticeship.

T Levels are a 2-year qualification designed to give you a head start towards the career you want.

They have been designed with leading businesses and employers to give you the knowledge and skills you need.

You’ll spend 80% of your time in the classroom and 20% on a 45-day placement with an employer to give you the skills and knowledge companies look for.

Your industry placement gives you the chance to learn what a real career is like while you continue your studies. When and how you complete it depends on the T Level, school or college, and employer.

Everything you need to know about T Levels can be found here: T Levels for students | T Levels.

Struggling or feeling down about your results?

It can feel very overwhelming if you don’t get the grades you expected, and it is okay to be upset. However, remember you are not alone and there is lots of support available to you.

If you need help with your mental health or wellbeing, contact one of the organisations below: